THIS PAGE LAST UPDATED: 12 june 2004
Turnhout, Belgium, June 11th, 2004
at "DE WARANDE"
A (special) DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WEBMASTER...
Just like it was in the case at last year's Chris Hillman concert, in Utrecht (The Netherlands), Roger McGuinn's performance at "De Warande" in Turnhout, (Belgium), on June 11th, 2004, gave Byrds Flyght’s webmaster the opportunity to meet in person with several people we’ve corresponded with or we've heard of for years, but whom we never met before. We also had the pleasure to meet again with some other people. So to Graham (England), René (The Netherlands), Horst-Peter, his wife Ute and Ritchie (Germany), Lucas (Belgium), Jean-Pierre, Michel and Bruno (France)...and all the others I might forget... it was great to spend some time with you all.
Thanks also to all Byrds Flyght visitors who told us how much they enjoy reading our pages. We also received e-mails from people who would have liked to be there with us, but couldn’t make it…
Special mention, for their kindness and their generosity, to Horst-Peter Schmidt, Ritchie Dunlop and Graham Allman-Talbot (Gat), who came all the way from Germany and England. When they play and sing together, they are STARBYRD, a Byrds-sounding band, who will release their new CD called ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MAD very soon. The CD will include THE TEARS, a hitherto unreleased song written by Roger McGuinn and his wife Camilla (who wrote part of the liner notes for the booklet). Roger and Camilla helped Starbyrd with suggestions for the recording of the song. Read more about STARBYRD on their website at http://www.starbyrd.org
Horst-Peter also plays with Ritchie in another heavily Byrds influenced group called Different Faces. He manages to put CDs out, with more Rickenbacker 12 string sounds than Roger McGuinn does! Horst-Peter’s CDs probably sound more Byrdsy than the latter day Byrds ever did, let alone the post-Byrds solo recordings. You can visit the Different Faces website at http://www.different-faces.com . Byrds Flyght visitors located in America, who would like to hear Horst-Peter’s music but don’t like to buy CDs from abroad, can order them directly from a US-based CD shop. You can find the link to contact this US seller on Different Faces’ webpages.
Byrds Flyght webmaster sporting his brand new Different Faces Tee-Shirt...thanks guys...
The 100 miles trip from our home town to Turnhout, didn't go without problems. It started raining cats and dogs (and ropes...) soon after we left our hometown. Then, we got stuck in a gigantic traffic jam, which blocked us for more than one hour on the motorway. However, we arrived at "De Warande" at about 6 pm, and the first person we met there was René from the Netherlands. René brought Roger over to The Netherlands for a concert in Rotterdam in 1999 (see review at http://www.geocities.com/byrdsflyght/events.htm). When entering the hall, the first person we saw and met was Roger's wife Camilla, sitting there next to a pile of autographed copies of Roger's latest CD called LIMITED EDITION. During the long and pleasant conversation that we had with her, she confirmed that the title of the CD comes from the fact that it is not available in any store, and can only be purchased on line (Roger confirmed this on stage - visit http://www.mcguinn.com for details). When we told Camilla about the traffic jam we were caught in, she said that their driver heard about it on the radio and avoided it by using his GPS...unfortunately, we are not equipped with GPS...Horst-Peter Schmidt and his friends then arrived, and talked to Camilla about the song she co-wrote, and which will appear on Starbyrd's new CD. We spend much time talking to very interesting (and a few less interesting) people...Incredible how fast time passes, when in good company. It was 8 pm already, and time to head for the concert hall.
Bruno (from France) meets "Crown Prince" Horst-Peter Schmidt at last...with the webmaster helping with the translation...
Byrds Flyght webmaster being held hostage by Starbyrd...Ritchie Dunlop, Webmaster, Horst-Peter Schmidt, Graham Allman-Talbot
Although this was Roger's 5th concert in Belgium (1971 with The Byrds, 1980 with McGuinn-Hillman, 1987 with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, 1991 for a private concert for the media people), this was the first time that he performed a solo concert in this country. The performance took place in a hall with approximately 350 people in the audience. Before Roger took the stage, the first thing we noticed, was that there were one acoustic guitar and two microphones only on stage (next to the loudspeakers). So we asked ourselves: did Roger bring his Rickenbacker 12 string this time? The lights went down, and we soon heard the intro to My Back Pages, while Roger walked on stage playing the electric guitar. He sat in front on the microphone and started singing. He then grabbed his brand new Martin 7 string acoustic guitar, and told the story of how he came to co-write a song with Bob Dylan, for a Peter Fonda movie. The song was called Ballad Of Easy Rider, and Roger mixed it with Wasn't Born To Follow, another song from the movie soundtrack. Roger usually tells stories between songs, about his life, about how songs came to life, and about how he discovered them. This concert was no exception, and he told us about how he discovered Leadbelly and other blues and folk singers, and next came Easter Morn. He told us about his Folk Den webpages and sang the story of Tim Finnigan in Finnigan's Wake. Time to go electric again, as he grabbed his Rickenbacker to sing and play Mr Spaceman "the first country song he ever wrote"...which led to another guitar switch and the introduction to a song from "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" called Pretty Boy Floyd.
picture taken from the 1st row...courtesy Jean-Pierre Louillat
...taken from the 9th row...on stage playing the Rickenbacker 12 string ...
...from the 9th row...playing the Martin 7 string...
...a side view...
More pics to be added soon...
Roger told us about the tour he enjoyed the most: the 1975 and 1976 Rolling Thunder Revue with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and many more...Next came the song he wrote about the tour, called Jolly Roger. Joni Mitchel gave him a song she just had written at the time, and next came Dreamland. Roger played his brand new 7 string Martin acoustic guitar he just designed. This model will be put on the market by Martin in january 2005 as a 500 copies limited edition. An excellent rendition of a blues standard followed, called The James Alley Blues, with Roger bending his guitar strings to obtain the right sound. The story was then told, of how Bells Of Rhymney was wrongly pronounced for decades. Someone living in Rhymney wrote to Roger to tell him it the right pronounciation was Rum-Ney. Many of Roger's fans know how interested he is in technology, and also that he likes to travel from town to town in his own car, listening to truck drivers talking on their CB two-way radios. The next song was written about what he heard in these transmissions: Southbound Blues (also called Drive 'm High). Roger told us in advance, that although the song was about truck drivers, it was "clean"...Time to switch guitars again, grab the Rickenbacker and start playing and singing one of the best songs he ever wrote: Chestnut Mare. In the middle of the song, Roger did something we never saw him do before: he changed guitars in the middle of the song, and finished it on the acoustic Martin. Some people in the audience, not familair with the song, started applauding during the switch. Then it was back to the blues again, with Saint James Infirmary. Roger told us the story about how the Byrds came to record Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man: they were given a tape of this then-unrecorded song; David Crosby hated it and didn't want to record it the way Dylan did it (acoustically and fast). Roger changed the tempo, added the "Beatles Beat" and the Rickenbacker intro, "and it came out like this"...the rest is history. Roger then sang the "electric" version of this song. He switched guitars again, and showed us how a gifted, talented, and unparalleled guitar player he is. His instrumental-only version of Eight Miles High (called "Echoes" on his last CD) is a masterpiece by a masterplayer. Back to the Rickenbacker again, for a rendition of the Byrds biggest hit: Turn! Turn! Turn! Roger then left the stage, while playing the Rickenbacker, left it backstage....and came back for the encore, grabbed the acoustic Martin, asked the audience to sing along "shouting and holding it for 4 bars"...So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star? Roger then paid tribute to Gene Clark (without mentioning him though)..I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, followed by She Don't Care About Time. The end was near, as Roger announced the last song, one he co-wrote with Camilla called May The Road Rise To Meet You (a new version of which is also on his latest CD). Roger said goodbye and then left...but couldn't resist the audience request for more, so he came back to sing one more song: Chimes Of Freedom. Lights on again; and the show was over already. Twenty two songs...not enough in our humble opinion...but will a Byrds/McGuinn fan ever get enough???
As his wife Camilla explained to us before the concert, Roger doesn't sign autographs anymore after the concerts. It ended up taking nearly as much time as the concerts themselves, with all concert-go-ers queueing to have items signed, with some people bringing their whole records collection to have them autographed. Selected people were admitted in the private "artist bar" though, and we were among the lucky few. Thirty minutes after the concert ended, Roger and Camilla arrived there as well, Roger still carrying his Martin guitar on his back (our guess is that this being a prototype, he doesn't want to take any risk of it being stolen or damaged...but this is just a guess). We were able to talk to Roger at length (approximately 15 minutes) and the topics were the Byrds, guitars, songwriting credits, his AM radio receivers collection, home recording on a computer, loudspeakers, mispressed CDs, future remastered versions of his CDs, SACDs, high quality vinyl reissues of his solo albums, Microsoft, Roger's forthcoming appearance on the Steven Foster Tribute CD...and (shortly) our website Byrds Flyght. He kindly signed some items, accepted to have his picture taken with the crazy gang, talked a bit with other people, and then left for good. Thank you Roger and Camilla for your kindness and availability.
...Roger with the Crazy Gang....Graham Allman-Talbot (Gat), Roger McGuinn, Horst-Peter Schmidt and Byrds Flyght's Webmaster
We left the "artist bar" and met again with the other fans, who weren't as lucky as we were. Graham chose this particular moment to show his generosity, offering us a ...Birds-related gift...see image hereunder...thank you Graham...
We all kept on talking about all that is Byrds, ex-Byrds...and being world-famous...
Starbyrd pretending to be Roger McGuinn's backing band...
Starbyrd getting ready for global success...
HPS mistakes HAT for GAT...and GAT with no HAT
But unfortunately, time came for us to say goodbye to everybody, and take the road for the trip back to our hometown. Among other things, music kept on playing in our head all along the road. When arriving home, although very tired, we had a look at our e-mail box and there were pleasant messages waiting for us...
RAOUL (Byrds Flyght)
THE REST OF THE EUROPEAN TOUR
June 12th, 2004: Roger performs in The Hague (Den Haag) in the Netherlands, at the "Music In My Head" Festival.
The UK branch of his tour is from June 14th to July 3rd.
You can read details of the locations and dates at http://www.mcguinn.com